High Point progress ever more visible
New rental housing taking shape
SEATTLE—August 26, 2004—It’s still early in the process of building new housing at High Point, but August 2004 marked the beginning of visible housing construction activity and, most visibly, the pouring of concrete foundations.
Absher Construction and its subcontractors are nearly finished with the final grading on the entire Phase I site. The next thing observers will notice is a steady flow of concrete mixing trucks coming into High Point to fill the forms that are being erected to hold the concrete.
One of the first units emerges out of the ground at High Point.
In addition, construction on the housing has actually begun. Walls and roofs are being installed on the first buildings. As these structures come up out of the ground, residents and neighbors will begin to see the new community taking shape.
Housing units will be completed gradually: the first batch will be available for occupancy in the spring of 2005. By April 2006, all 344 new Phase I rental units will be completed. The overall plan calls for the completion of Phase I in 2006. By then, Phase II residents will have moved into their new homes in Phase I.
Market rate for-sale housing construction is not far behind, the first of those homes will be completed in the fall of 2005. Starting in 2006, construction in Phase II will begin, and will last approximately two years.
While construction has been going smoothly, the plan to move the original residents back onto the site has presented some challenges. The original hope was to move residents who are now living in Phase II into the new housing and then begin demolition and construction work on Phase II.
Unfortunately, there will not be enough one-bedroom apartments completed in the first phase to accommodate all of the High Point residents who want to stay on site.
According to Tom Phillips, project manager, "It is difficult to match the bedroom mix of the apartments exactly to the immediate need. The finished community, as envisioned since the initial funding application, will have fewer one-bedroom units overall than the original community had."
Currently, there are 57 households living in one-bedroom apartments at High Point. Of these, 23 are seniors. When Phase I is completed, it will have 75 one-bedroom apartments for seniors and 10 one-bedroom apartments open to anyone. In accordance with a resident vote, seniors have the privilege of choosing their housing first. Depending upon how many seniors choose to live in the senior-only apartment building, there will be a shortage of one-bedroom apartments of between 24 and 34 units.
Phase II will include an additional 18 one-bedroom units. These will be built in sloped areas and will be "stacked flats." This means there will be one apartment on top of another, both with ground-level entries, one at the top of the slope and one at the bottom. This is the only location on the site where this type of construction works.
According to Phillips, "We expect that Phase II will accommodate most of the remaining households, since there is likely to be some tenant turnover by that time. Unfortunately, some households who want to stay in the neighborhood will have to make an additional move before they finally settle into their new apartments. They will be provided with a Section 8 voucher or other subsidized housing while they wait for Phase II to open.”
Similar difficulties were also encountered at NewHolly, requiring a few households to move more than once in the process. "We wish that everyone could be accommodated with just one move," said Phillips, "but unfortunately, it is difficult to line up all of the puzzle pieces perfectly for each category of bedroom size. I am confident that we'll be able to get everyone who wants to come back to High Point in a suitable apartment once the development is completed. We truly appreciate the patience of the residents affected by this."